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Talking about sex in your relationship

40 replies

EnoughofThatAuldchat · 25/02/2019 23:05

I am going through a separation.
Dh's apparent general lack of sexual interest in me is one of the reasons. It has really chipped away at my self esteem. We have sex so rarely. Now we can blame exhaustion/co sleeping/kids but in honesty it's always bothered me.

When we do have sex it's been good - No physical issues, we can both come. I think he's gorgeous. I have no idea what he thinks of me really, he says he loves me, he is kind etc. But I've never seen lust there.

It's not just the infrequency that gets me. He just doesn't seem like a sexual being, we have no conversations about sex EVER like not even a mention that either of us fancies it for example, no mention of our private parts or each other's bodies generally.
I think I used to at the start but I got very little back and then he just seemed to become even more prudish and even conversations where I brought up the lack of sex, he looked at me like he was embarassed for me and tried to fob me off with the "I'm tired" excuse and generally made me feel like a nympho.

Looking back he maybe stretched to "I'm in the mood" in the early days. That then became just a silent physical approach, touching me. I was just happy to go along with whatever scraps of foreplay I got, don't think I ever turned him down once! I now think surely foreplay exists on some level out of the bedroom. A look, an admiring glance, an appreciative expression. I got a friendly hug.

We rarely have had sex more than once a week at any point of our relationship including ttc.
Since kids it has dwindled away to next to nothing......and this doesn't seem to bother him at all, he has never ever ever brought up the topic of sex.

How much do you talk about sex?

OP posts:
EnoughofThatAuldchat · 26/02/2019 03:14

I forgot to say, he hates kissing with tongues too, so we never did that past the first few months, despite it being something I loved.
Yes, I am wondering how/ why the hell I put up with this.

OP posts:
toddman70 · 26/02/2019 16:16

How long have you been married? Can you 2 honestly talk about other topics and have a true conversation (ie. finances, discipline, household workload etc.) without it being shutdown? Is he still affectionate toward you in other areas?

Namechangerforthistopic · 26/02/2019 16:38

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EnoughofThatAuldchat · 26/02/2019 19:48

Toddman, married 7 years. Yes I get affection in other ways, well mostly just a hug or asking if I'm ok. He is a gentle guy. Never loses his temper. Kind and considerate aground the house, pulls his weight with chores.

And while he doesn't ever appear to shut down other conversations your question is on the money - we have communication problems generally. He won't talk about the past. And in recent years I now realise he has been fobbing me off when it comes to other problems in the marriage (financial). He listens and responds but ultimately nothing changes. He appears to care about my happiness and says he does and is generally "lovely", but he doesn't really engage. I feel so ground down and hopeless by now.

OP posts:
EnoughofThatAuldchat · 26/02/2019 19:49

Oh and thank you both for your replies. Namechanger I can hardly remember what it feels like to feel desired. I almost can't imagine that anyone would desire me at this stage.

OP posts:
AuroraAdoreHer · 26/02/2019 20:12

I have a similar situation with my DH. We just don’t seem to be able to communicate about sex. It’s like we’re both too scared to initiate it. And we definitely don’t talk about it. I think it’s just us and I’m not sure if we’re splitting up or not.

However, 6 months ago I met a man who I was able to chat to about anything and everything. We easily chatted about sex. We didn’t have an affair so weren’t talking about sex with each other but if we had then the chat would have come very easily. I think we’re just more compatible with some people than others in different areas.

maartjebaabes · 12/03/2019 13:44

I'm very lucky that my DP is also very open and happy to talk about sex.

It's important to find the right time; the heat of the moment is probably wrong, when driving or having a disagreement on something else is certainly wrong.

It might seem a bit clinical, but saying "let's go out in the garden for a glass of wine, and I want to talk about what happened last night" gets the ball rolling

LittleMissFunTimes · 20/03/2019 14:08

Oh God, OP you could be me.

Married 18 years. V v selfish DH. I would rarely cum, there was zero (literally zero) foreplay, I was always the one making the effort, always felt like I was putting on a show for him. If I did cum it was him playing with me whilst he fell asleep, sometimes I’d just have to finish myself off. Despite me asking he would never tell me what his fantasies were (I swear I have no idea if he even has any) would never say what he like me wearing, never told me I was beautiful etc.

I tried to address it for years!! But nothing happened. In the end I gave up. So then we rarely had sex. So then he started trying to fuck me in my sleep. I got so frustrated I started posting nude pics online just to get my kicks. Which looking back does seem a bit weird and v unlike me!! But it was a huge ego boost and I realised what was ok and what wasn’t ok in a loving relationship. I left ExH and told him it was because of the sex. In reality his total selfishness in bed was just a symptom of him generally being a self-centered arsehole. He immediately went to see a sex therapist and now tells me our problems were my fault because “your sexuality intimidated me” 🙄

I have now found the love of my life and I can’t tell you how different he sex is. Not only is it damn hot but the intense love and intimacy is mind blowing. We talk about sex a lot. We just love making each other feel good. In my books, that’s what lovers do. They love each other.

Don’t beat yourself about your ex. He’s an arse and you clearly weren’t compatible. Enjoy moving on

ConfusedDH · 20/03/2019 22:44

I'm in a similar position OP - my DW is a lovely person, kind, caring, considerate, we never row, everything is great apart from the sex.

Like you, there is zero sexuality outside of the bedroom - might as well be living like housemates.

We do hug and kiss in an affectionate way, but not a sexual way.

No passion, no lust, no horniness and no conversations about sex. She would never initiate outside of the bedroom, ever and in the bedroom, it's a kind of mechanical, paint by numbers type of initiation, rather than a natural 'urge' type of experience.

The sex we do have is perfectly loving, but there's no passion, spark, chemistry, lust or desire - never urgent or longing, just very passive and unenthusiastic on her part.

I crave some mutually steamy enthusiasm, where she is as keen and hungry as I am, but sadly this is never the case. I always have to suggest a position change, or if I ask what she'd like next, there's a long pause where I'm thinking to myself, how hard can it be to chose something else, are you even bothered, shall we just stop and not bother then? That kind of level of passion.

Eventually it erodes your self esteem, self confidence and to me at least, leaves me feeling robbed of the fun, excitement and enjoyment it should be.

I put it down to her having zero libido and just going with the flow to keep me happy, which does the opposite, as who wants to have sex with a partner just going through the motions?

It's caused major issues in our relationship to the point we are approaching make or break. We've agreed to go to counselling and both are committed to trying to fix things, but I can't see how counselling can help, although I've got an open mind and am willing to try.

We'll see what happens I guess.

FinnGermey · 20/03/2019 23:43

I'm probably a notch down from you @ConfusedDH.
However, my wife NEVER initiates, never talks about sex or her desires or fantasies. She goes along with sex and seems to enjoy it when it does happen, but spends most of the time rejecting me!
I long to be desired and have someone touch me and feel the need & want to be intimate with me, but sometimes i think I am unrealistic & women just don't do this. Certainly that is the impression I am given when I get told 'none of my friends enjoy sex with their husbands'.
For me it's not a sexless marriage but a desireless one!

LittleMissFunTimes · 21/03/2019 11:44

women just don't do this

This is absolutely not true!!

I know from my friends (male and female) that it is commonplace for wives to spend a lot of time avoiding sex. I don’t really have any idea why.

Bear in mind for women sex is 80% in the mind. So if your relationship isn’t top-notch this could hinder bedroom desires. Plus once you get into a rut of feeling unsexy it’s very difficult to get out of. Also, I don’t think that many women realise that for a lot of men sex=love. That, yes, sex is physical but can also be a physical manifestation of love. A lot of women see the two as separate.

I think for husbands not getting what you want in the bedroom, you need to talk to your wives. Explain that it’s the physical intimacy and mutual passion you miss - not just getting your rocks off.

If a partner isn’t willing to respect and consider your desires and at least try to meet you half way, then that’s a very selfish partner indeed.

To my mind, sex is important in a romantic relationship. No it shouldn’t be everything, but it should be a hell of a lot. Because it’s the one thing you share only with each other. Without it you’re just mates. IMHO

ConfusedDH · 21/03/2019 21:36

@Finngermy - "None of my friends enjoy sex with their husbands"

What a thoroughly depressing comment. The many comments on these boards from women in marriages with fulfilling sex lives proves that is not the case in general.

Like you, I long to feel desired, that I'm a factor in another person's sexuality, that they want a look forward to sex with me. Isn't that how it should be? I refuse to admit defeat and accept a life of apathy towards sex - its too important to me.


"If a partner isn’t willing to respect and consider your desires and at least try to meet you half way, then that’s a very selfish partner indeed"

That's an interesting point, but how does a partner with no libido meet you half way if the piece of the jigsaw missing is enthusiasm and passion?

Surely this isn't something that can be compromised on, no more than you can compromise on feeling hungry or finding something funny?

To meet half way must surely require some kind of fakery or pretence, which is missing the point completely.

I could understand if frequency was the issue (it is, as well) as long as the person when they do have sex gets into it and really enjoys it, but if there's no natural enthusiasm and a take it or leave it atmosphere, how do you address that?

LittleMissFunTimes · 21/03/2019 22:10


So the only time in my life I’ve never wanted sex is when I hated my husband. With good reason I might add.

That aside I have no experience of simply not wanting sex for the sake of not wanting sex, so I might not be the best person to answer this.

But! I’m not sure having no libido is a good enough excuse actually. Because to desire being physically intimate with the person you love isn’t the same as having a sex drive I don’t think. If two people love and respect and care for each other then regardless of whether or not sex is the goal, both people should be able to enjoy kissing each other, touching each other, showering together, massage. All lovely stuff you wouldn’t do with other people. If that is missing then I don’t think it is nearly as simple as “I don’t want sex” and I don’t think that is an acceptable answer tbh. It might be because she’s scared of where the intimacy might lead to, it might be her confidence is knocked. Whatever the reason, I don’t think telling your partner you just don’t want to me physically intimate with them is acceptable.

I’m not suggesting these aren’t massive hurdles to overcome or that a decades long marriage should be thrown in because of it. But the older I get and the more I hear about women’s attitude to sex with their husbands I feel quite sad. Yes of course a person has every right to not want to have sex with someone, married or not. But I don’t think the importance of physical intimacy in a romantic relationship should be underestimated.

LittleMissFunTimes · 21/03/2019 22:16

And what I mean is when there’s is physical intimacy then I can’t imagine the sex not following.

When you don’t want sex, the end goal is what puts you off. It’s a massive pressure and that then shuts down everything else.

When all that is gone I think it’s time to start again. Forget the penetration. Forget the cumming. If your physical relationship was stripped back down to basics, what would happen? If she knew sex wasn’t expected or being sought, would she like a foot rub? A back massage? A bath together? A long slow kiss? If you try to offer these things but don’t persue sex she might start to enjoy your touch. And when that happens...

Maybe it’s a starting point. Or maybe I’m talking shit 🤷🏻‍♀️

ConfusedDH · 21/03/2019 22:52

Thanks for your considered reply, you raise some interesting points.

Where I feel somewhat bereft (and I appreciate this might come across as 'all about me', but hey, this is a discussion forum to share thoughts and feelings) is that eventually, if you have to all the chasing and ensuring circumstances are just right all the time to hopefully get some crumbs off the table, eventually you get fed up, and this does not in any way shape or form leave you feeling wanted.

It feels like it's something to have to chase, to earn, to structure, when actually what is missing is the feeling that the other person is actually wanting, needing and desiring you - a two way street.

is it unrealistic to want your life partner to sometimes just feel horny and make the first move? To put their phone or laptop down and initiate? Or how about at least once in a while suggest nipping upstair for a quickie perhaps? Something? Anything?

Or how about sign posting that they've missed you and are looking froward to later for some fun and cuddles?

Or maybe suggesting that later it might be nice if we could try, x,y,z....?

Anything to indicate sex is on their radar and that you also feature in the equation and are seen as a desired and needed ingredient?

In our current dynamic, if I didn't initiate (which I tend not to do much these days as the rejection wears your confidence and self esteem over time) we would go weeks without sex.

Yes, there's foot strokes, back rubs, cuddles etc, but not in a sexual or sensual way - it just doesn't go there, ever. No requests for showers or baths together, or why don't we.... or it wouldn't it be nice to.... etc.

I just feel that it shouldn't be this much hard work. Surely sex should be a natural thing that happens when the chemistry, love and desire is there, which should be fairly frequent in a happy marriage, at least to me it should.

The problem is also that when we do have sex, it doesn't satisfy or scratch the itch and leaves me still longing and wanting.

We could be half way through and I could stop suddenly and she'd be like 'Okay' in a kind of bemused but not massively bothered kind of way where in my mind, such an event might leave the other person 'high and dry' or at least a little frustrated?

Like I say, this all points towards zero sex drive - if you're not hungry, you simply don't go to the kitchen - at least that's how it feels.

Imagine going to your favourite restaurant with someone who isn't hungry and orders a glass of tap water, a salad they hardly touch and makes no effort to hold an interesting conversation - that is how I feel about our sex life.

I'll see what the counsellor says.

LittleMissFunTimes · 21/03/2019 22:59

Oh confused I don’t know what else to say. I have been where you’ve been. My ExH wanted it, sometimes, but it was just to get his rocks off, not to want to devour every inch of me. I could have been anyone. It is soul destroying.

You’re right, you’re not expecting too much at all. You need to decide for yourself what you’re happy putting up with. And it sounds like you already know that answer. But the fact you’re both willing to see a councillor is a good thing. A step in the right direction at least

ConfusedDH · 21/03/2019 23:11

I'm trapped between a rock and a hard place - we love each other very much.

When we've had very serious conversations and have gone as far as saying that the current level of unhappiness is not long term sustainable and what might a split look like, we both burst into tears and cannot bear the thought of it.

We have two lovely children who I simply could not be apart from, it'd kill me, hence we have agreed to counselling to try and fix things as continuing as we are is not an option, nor is splitting and being away from the children, selling the family home, subjecting us all to financial hardship etc. (a split in reality would be pretty much financially impossible in our current circumstances)

We've quite traditional about marriage so an open marriage isn't something either of us would be happy or comfortable with.

I just see unhappiness at every turn - we have to fix this, but how do you fix someone's non-existent libido?

SkinnyPete · 21/03/2019 23:41

how do you fix someone's non-existent libido?

Work on you only and don't try to negotiate desire. Get fit, own your shit (household, family, work), do your own shit (hobbies, projects, man stuff), don't be needy, but do not hide your sexuality, be proud of it (but not demanding or butt hurt if it's not happening).

LittleMissFunTimes · 21/03/2019 23:46

There will be a reason your wife doesn’t want sex. I don’t think ‘libido’ is jistban excuse.

It might be because she doesn’t feel sexy, it might be she’s too tired, it might be because you argue about the bins too much. It might be hormones. It might because she feels like you’re always pestering her, if might be you’ve let yourself go and she doesn’t fancy you. Idk but hopefully counselling will dig out the issues and you can find a way to fix it.

ConfusedDH · 22/03/2019 08:15


Thanks for the reply - I am fit, I work out, am In good shape, good hygiene and do put a little time to one side for me whilst being fully engaged with family life.

If I'm considered needy, it would only be through expressing my concerns due to our poor sex life. I'm certainly not demanding, but can only swallow the sadness, low self esteem, low confidence and general soul destroying effects for so long. At some point you have to vocalise, which is where we're at now.


We don't argue, I don't believe its hormones but I'm no Doctor and has seen her GP and had blood tests who report there are no issues.

She's not on any hormonal birth control nor anti -depressants or other medication. As I said above, without sounding big headed, I have not let myself go - I work out frequently and have a body type/shape of an olympic swimmer so I'd like to think there is nothing physically off putting about me. I'm well over 6' tall and about 15 stone / 34" waist.

To give you an idea of how despairing it is, a little while ago, I was lying there in bed during 'foreplay' and she was doing stuff to me, but I noticed yet again that she was not touching my penis - something that I've wondered about for some time. So I asked the question and her answer shocked me.

"It was already hard so I didn't think it need touching". Word for word.

Sorry, but just how clueless do you have to be?

I asked her how she would feel if I stopped touching her just because it was moist - I got a blank look.

The issue is not so much that she doesn't want sex (it is now I raised my concerns) it was that outside of the bedroom, we lived as housemates with no spark, passion, chemistry or any hint of sexuality, and that when we did have sex, there was no passion, enthusiasm, longing, need, desire on her part - just a very passive, happy to go along with it, 'pleasant' event. It never built up to a crescendo and was just a case of when it came to PIV, it would be me thrusting until I asked for a different position, came or just got bored and stopped due to lack of enthusiasm on her part.

She would never say anything like harder, faster, slower, deeper etc - just totally passive and content to go along with whatever I wanted. Basically a one way and very dull street.

The issue we have now is that when I first raised my discontent with our current sex life, she thought everything was fine - we were having regular (to her) sex and she was enjoying it, so my feelings came as a shock to her - despite me dropping constant hints for a long time that went unnoticed.

Now that she knows there is much I'm not happy with, it's become a massive elephant in the room that we can't seem to get past.

It will be interesting to see what the counsellor says.

LittleMissFunTimes · 22/03/2019 09:03

@ConfusedDH I’ve been there. Have DMed you

BluishMoon · 22/03/2019 10:04

I'm another in a similar position, I recognise nearly everything confusedDH says, except I'm the woman.

I adore my partner and I know he loves me, but he's not very sexual and I never ever feel desired. I'm very tactile, passionate and quite frankly just want to rip his clothes off a lot of the time, but even if I walked into the room naked he wouldn't bat an eyelid.

Our relationship is so good in every other way, but he doesn't realise the effect this is having on me. We've discussed it several times but I don't really know what can be done.

I want to be wanted, not have sex because he feels he has to, to keep me happy Sad


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SkinnyPete · 22/03/2019 11:22


This isn't normal. He's either MH/medication issues, low testosterone, low self esteem, burned out with work, or (and hopefully not) not attracted to you anymore, or another woman. Any of those things going on/suspected?

You need to continue trying to talk about it, because it's miserable.

LittleMissFunTimes · 22/03/2019 11:24

I didn’t force the subject with my ex and then everything just collapsed and went to shit. Not that that was necessarily a bad thing, sex was only one issue. But we have DCs so obvs it’s hurt them too.

So anyone not happy... keep talking. It won’t get better on its own.

BluishMoon · 22/03/2019 13:13


I'm certain it's not another woman or medication. I've asked him to his testosterone checked and he agreed but has done nothing about it. He doesn't think it's that, I do think it's a possibility. He does have some hang ups about various things, and is a very reserved person anyway. He likes privacy and we have a baby in our room and a teenager next door (mine not his). He says it puts him off.

I shouldn't compare him to other men, but those things wouldn't have stopped previous partners

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